Glastonbury CT Vet

Farm Animal Physical Examinations

CT Farm Animal Phsyicals

The physical exam is the basis for diagnosis and treatment of your animal. Our doctors perform a complete examination any time the animal is brought for routine care or with a problem. Unlike people, animals cannot tell us if anything has changed, making information from the owners and the physical exam even more important in identifying problems. Throughout their lives, animals "age" faster than people, so that the physical changes that may take 4-5 years in a person to become apparent may occur within 1-2 years.

The examination itself includes many things. It actually starts even before the animal gets to the doctor! The doctor generally observes the animal walking in from the paddock or stall area, and takes note of its attitude and any obvious abnormalities. Changes in weight, hair coat and general demeanor are often clues about possible underlying diseases such as hoof rot, intestinal parasites and pinkeye, just to name a few. The doctor then takes a thorough history from the client. Finally, the veterinarian will systematically examine the animal:

  • Listening to the heart and lungs with a stethoscope to check for abnormal heart rhythms; murmurs which can indicate valve disease; and abnormal air flow through the lungs, which can indicate fluid or masses in or around the lungs.
  • Listening to the abdomen to assess ruminal function
  • Examining the eyes and ears for abnormalities in structure and indications of abnormal function or infection
  • Examining the mouth and nose to ensure that the animal can effectively eat and breathe
  • The coat is examined for consistency and fullness, and examined for evidence of skin infection or external parasites
  • If indicated, the hooves and joints may all be examined and manipulated to determine the source of lameness or to identify arthritic joints
  • The animal's temperature is taken to ensure there is no underlying systemic infection prior to giving any vaccinations.

Doing a thorough examination even when there are no obvious problems allows us to determine whether a problem that surfaces later is indeed new, or the progression of an older condition. In addition, in animals with known abnormalities, such as heart murmurs or dental irregularities, regular exams allow us to chart the course of disease, and determine whether it is progressive or static.